Mid-October — already?!

I was going to try to post every week through the fall, but as always time gets away.  There’s still no color in the trees (except for the dogwoods beginning to turn), but the asters and mums are coming into their own. The temperatures have dropped at night and in the morning, although days are still hot, and we’re expecting more heat this coming week.


Rosa ‘Laffter’ stretching up for one last show.


‘Ryan’s Pink’ chrysanthemums are opening as of this weekend.  These are in the brightest sun near the sidewalk, and behind you can see the blur that will spill into the rain garden.


So proud of this little “trellis”:  The ‘Ryan’s Pink’ mums usually spill over into the sidewalk, but last spring I got rid of most of the ones there except for this one clump, which managed to grow upward within the strong stalks of Verbena bonariensis!  Over the summer as the verbena has faded I’ve snipped it back, but left the structural stems, which are now nicely hidden by the mums, which greet me at waist-high level.  Wonder if I can make that happen again next year?


Last year I planted ageratum behind the ‘Ryan’s Yellow’ mums, hoping for a nice blend of the soft blue and yellows, and I guess that’s what I’m getting.  But the ageratum turned out to be a little bit of a garden thug, and it squeezed out a nice stand of my favorite daylilies.  It also looks really wilted and pouty when it’s not watered, so I may rethink this idea next year.  ‘Ryan’s Yellow’ is always pretty much the last thing to bloom in my garden, always a signal that it’s time to shut down for winter–but this year they seem to be coming on a little earlier (or it’s later than I think!)


Still no show from the Angel Trumpet, but the buds are looking more fully formed.  They should do a little bit of their thing before frost, but I’m a little sad that they’re so late.  One year they were still blooming like crazy on the day before we were to get a frost, so my brother and I cut a few branches to take inside;  those that we cut withered and sank, but the ones that went through the frost kept on blooming for quite a while.  So, not as fragile as some fear.


Little firecrackers of purple, aster ‘Fanny’ underneath the Angel Trumpet.  Wish they’d both explode at once.


The Aster ‘Tartaricus’ is fading, and the Rosa ‘Red Cascade’ never put on much of a show this year, but these mums, from some grocery store or other a few years back, are taking over.  In the right background are the fat buds of ‘Ryan’s Rainbow’ mums, 5 clumps of them that I planted as a sort of informal memorial to him for the last of this gardening year.  They’re nestled in between the 6 tea olives, planted in a serpentine swath, that we like to call the “Gainey Swerve”, since Ryan was the one to suggest it.  Tea olives were in full fragrance last weekend, noticeable from almost everywhere in the garden–they’re calming down somewhat now.


Finally!  This poor salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ was trampled two years ago, then cut back last year in favor of showing off one of the small cannas, and this year it is making up for lost time.  I do love this plant, and it’s sorta hard to find these days.  That’s one plant!


Bees are still working all the salvias.



Rosa ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ got a huge haircut late this summer, but it’s coming back strong, as if to convince me not to get rid of it.  It is the most beautiful fragrance.  I’ve promised this rose to at least three people if they’ll come and take it–it’s totally in the wrong place, much to aggressive for this narrow space.  But sooo pretty.  (And the dish, presented as a gift from my NC Master Gardener visitors, really shines there.)



Camellia ‘Yuletide’.  I have one on each side of the front door, and they’ve had a hard summer settling in.  The buds look promising.  The low Georgia savory (Clinopodium georgiana) is really happy in that spot, a good bit of sun but some afternoon shade.  The savory plants I put in full sun all day struggled.



Still not looking like fall with any of the Japanese maples.  They don’t ever give me much color, anyway–wonder why?



The little ornamental pomengranate finally settled into its spot and begin to grow–almost 2 feet of new growth just this season.  No blooms to speak of, but I did notice these two just now.  What a show this will be if it really blooms and fruits next year:  little pumpkins, right at Halloween!



Rosa ‘Mutabilis’–rank, weedy, shoots off in all directions, still a favorite I wouldn’t be without.



Perovskia.  Moved it too late for it to get much height going, but beautiful blooms in the rose garden.



Rain lilies!  After whatever nasty creature took them all the way to the ground in August, they’re rebounding and showing off.

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Moving into October


This is Saturday, October 1.  Even though the day is heating up, there is still a little freshness in the breeze that lets me know fall is coming on.

Today I’m documenting what’s blooming and what’s about to bloom. Above is a solitary Surprise lily (lycoris squamigera)–I planted a bunch of these last spring, and this is the only one I see coming up.  I often see some of the ones that were here originally, but they’re not reliable each year–wonder if it’s the rainfall?  When they “surprise” you each fall, it’s tough to remember what you’re supposed to do to make them bloom.  (I see a big stand of these in my neighbor’s yard, and I know they’re totally neglected, so I’m not sure what course to take for next year.)



The Japanese Anemone in some sections of the garden has already come and gone, but this little stand is just about to bloom.  I’ve found that the sunnier the location, the earlier the bloom–except in the case of one patch on the shady north side of the house, which always blooms in August, no matter what.  Go figure.


And here’s the way the anemone looks on the front side of the garden wall, where it really lives hard–it’s difficult to water, and it’s in hot sun.  Still, nice blooms so far.



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Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Fuji Waterfall’ is my favorite hydrangea. I planted a second one this spring, so it hasn’t approached the stature of this older shrub, probably about 8 years along.  Even in the late summer the old blooms are interesting, and now here’s the bonus bloom, just below:


IMG_4216.JPGLast summer about this time, my sweet kitty Hobbes was struck and killed by a car as he was coming home from his nightly hunt.  When I left for work the next morning, I found him in the grass up the street–someone had taken the time to remove him from the street and nestle him in a way that his injuries didn’t show, and they had pulled a ‘Fuji Waterfall’ bloom and place it between his paws.

I don’t know if the person who hit him made this kind gesture, or if it was someone who came by later and knew I would be even sadder to find him lying in the street–Hobbes is now forever tied in with my love of this beautiful hydrangea.


IMG_4219.JPGA dainty aster, I’ve forgotten its name.  It’s usually over and done by this time, and it always makes just a tiny show anyway, but this year it’s really doing its thing in late September!


IMG_4214.JPGThis is the rowdy stand of ‘Ryan’s Pink’ chrysanthemums that spill downward into the rain garden.  They should be coming on in about a week, and when I trim back the cannas and elephant ears from the rain garden, they will make a lovely flow.


IMG_4213.JPGThe ginger lily is really blooming its head off right now, and should keep up for a while if it gets enough water. This cultivar is (I think) ‘Daniel Weeks’, and blooms late, should be going until frost.


IMG_4208.JPGCan you see those tiny buds?  I seem to remember from past years that the Trumpet lily was blooming really freely by now, but maybe not.  The height is impressive, but I’m not seeing many buds–had a few about 3 weeks ago, and now nothing more.  Not its usual behavior, but I’m hopeful.



Aster oblongifolius ‘Fanny’ will go crazy when it decides to–it’s the most stunning aster! Nothing yet, but the buds are there.

IMG_4211.JPGDanae racemosa (Poet’s Laurel) is about the only thing looking good under my Kwanzan cherry right now–the dry summer seems to have deleted most of the sweet groundcovers. But behind the laurel, in the upper right corner of this shot, the Arum italicum is sending up spears, and its foliage should be covering up some of the bare spots before long.

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Kristy in the Mexican sage

ImageShe was such a pretty bride–and I love that the photographer saw the potential in that stand of Mexican sage.  Sad, it was all killed by the winter freezes–I might replant, but the effect would be hard to achieve again without a pretty big investment of plants.  Maybe I’ll just enjoy this picture, and remember.

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dogwood and Hobbes

Dogwood in the back yard. It’s a survivor–every year I think it’s going to die, and every year it showers me with blossoms!

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First attempts at garden journal

What I think I want to do with this blog is upload my garden pictures and then make notes about what I’m seeing.  I am so terrible about keeping a written journal of garden events and needs, and this seems to me to be the best way to maintain a record.

The pictures in this gallery were taken early on Memorial Day, May 30, 2011.  It’s already breathtakingly hot, will go over 9o by late afternoon.  These shots are kinda random, I’m just trying to get a feel for what I can do with this blog–I seem to have been aiming for a combination of documenting something special and recording things I want to work on.




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First post

This is the beginning of my garden blog.

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